Japan mobile game giant Gree sues rival DeNA for blocking developers

The legal battle unfolds as both firms look to expand their online gaming services in the U.S. through recent acquisitions.

Japanese mobile game platform operator Gree said Monday it has sued rival DeNA for obstructing game developers that try to launch games on both of their platforms.

The suit, which seeks ¥1.05 billion (US$14 million) in damages and an end to the practice, comes as both companies push aggressively abroad in their search for new users. Earlier this year Gree purchased U.S. online game company OpenFeint, while DeNA acquired mobile game firm ngmoco last year and in August announced a joint deal with AT&T to offer its services on Android devices.

Gree alleges that DeNA has kept online game developers in Japan from joining Gree's network, threatening to remove them from its own, more prominent, game network. Gree said that the conduct has continued despite a government order earlier this year to change its ways.

In June, the Japan Fair Trade Commission ruled that DeNA was blocking developers from listing their games and ordered it to stop and implement policies to keep from doing so in the future.

The lawsuit announced Monday is being pursued jointly by Gree and KDDI, the country's No. 2 mobile operator, which is seeking a small portion of the damages because it was affected through its offering of Gree's products on its network.

Dena issued a statement later Monday declining comment as it has yet to see the contents of the lawsuit.

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